American Animals is the unbelievable but entirely true story of four young men who attempt to execute one of the most audacious art heists in U.S. history. The film centers around two friends from the middle-class suburbs of Lexington, Kentucky. Spencer [Barry Keoghan], is determined to become an artist but feels he lacks the essential ingredient that unites all great artists – suffering. His closest friend, Warren [Evan Peters], has also been raised to believe that his life will be special, and that he will be unique in some way. But as they leave the suburbs for universities in the same town, the realities of adult life begin to dawn on them and with that, the realization that their lives may in fact never be important or special in any way. Determined to live lives that are out of the ordinary, they plan the brazen theft of some of the world’s most valuable books from the special collections room of Spencer’s college Library. Enlisting two more friends, accounting major Eric [Jared Abrahamson] and fitness fanatic Chas [Blake Jenner], and taking their cues from heist movies, the gang meticulously plots the theft and subsequent fence of the stolen artworks. Although some of the group begin to have second thoughts, they discover that the plan has seemingly taken on a life of its own. Unfolding from multiple perspectives, and innovatively incorporating the real-life figures at the heart of the story, writer-director Bart Layton takes the heist movie into bold new territory.
April 13, 2018
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Brooklyn parents Alex [Claire Danes] and Greg [Jim Parsons] are lucky to have a kid like Jake. Their four-year-old is bright, precocious, creative—and just happens to prefer Disney princesses to toy cars and skirts to jeans. Jake’s “gender expansive” behavior—as local preschool director Judy [Octavia Spencer] dubs it—is no big deal to Alex and Greg. Or so it seems, until the process of navigating New York City’s hyper-competitive private school system opens up a parental quagmire: could Jake’s gender nonconformity be just the thing that gives their child an edge in the admissions game? How young is too young to put a label on a child’s identity? Is this just a phase, or is Jake truly transgender? Split in their opinions on how to handle the situation, Alex and Greg find themselves navigating an emotional and ethical minefield with one patch of common ground between them: their fierce desire to do what’s right for Jake. Transparent director Silas Howard helms this timely, honest, emotionally rich look at 21st-century parenting.